School trip ends in tragedy

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

TWO pupils from Masoeling Primary School (LECSA) died when a large rock fell from a cliff and struck the window of a bus they were travelling in while returning from an educational trip at Mohale Dam to Berea on Monday.

The two girls who died on the spot were in grade six. The harrowing incident also left five pupils injured, two of them seriously. They were admitted at the Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital, where three have since been discharged.

Preliminary police investigations are pointing at foul play, with suspicions that three boys aged 13 and 14, who were herding livestock, might have caused the rock fall.

“It is still not clear how the whole incident happened but we suspect the three boys might have had something to do with what happened,” Police Spokesperson, Inspector Mpiti Mopeli said.

He said police have since communicated with the families of the three boys and requested them to bring them to the police station for further investigations.

Although they are minors, if sufficient evidence shows they were involved, Insp Mpiti said they will be charged with murder, pending a ruling by the court – which will decide how to proceed with the matter.

“However, as of now we are not talking murder because we are still to interview the boys and hear their side of the story,” Insp Mpiti said.

The Lesotho Times visited the scene of the tragic incident and found both the teachers and pupils in deep shock. One of the teachers, ’Mota Makakamela, told the Lesotho Times they were not certain what happened.

“As we were travelling, we suddenly heard a loud noise followed by shattering glass. The driver stopped the bus while the children who were sitting behind us were screaming,” said Makakamela.

She said in panic, the children rushed to exit the bus leading to a stampede.

“It was when we investigated what had happened that we noticed they were children on the floor,” Makakamela said.

The passengers were helped by some police officers who happened to be passing through where the incident had happened on their police business.

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